Žiga Turk blogging about issues of European politics, growth, innovation, creativity, communication technology. Includes posts originally published at BlogActiv, DigitalPost and few others.
Data driven innovation:if you build it they will come
In the EU we are often accused of having big government and public sector; spending too much; collecting too much information etc. But there may be a silver lining to it.
In the globalized competition among the states, of course it is important to improve the level of services, cut costs and reduce the red tape. But it is also important to make the best out of the situation. Which is that the public sector is sitting on a treasure of data which costs taxpayer money to collect and maintain and in many cases citizen effort to provide.
Therefore it would be wise to make sure the data is either put to use or stopped being collected.
It is highly unlikely that the governments would come with the only and the brightest ideas on what to do with that data. On the contrary, the growth around the internet has shown the tremendous potential of innovation in the private sector and the academia.
In the beginning of December I took part at a Summit “Data Driven Innovation in Southeast Europe“. It was organized by several organizations from the region and Google in Zagreb, Croatia. Members of governments, academia, civil societies and businesses from the region met to exchange best practices and discuss the innovation strategy. Innovation that should be based around data openly provided by the public sector.
While Slovenia is also a Central European country, it shares a long common history and therefore institution types and public-sector culture with former Yugoslav republics. There are plenty of opportunities to collaborate and borrow solutions from each other.
A whitepaper summarized the initiative and best practices. The message from Slovenia was very clear – “if you build it, they will come“. If you build open access to open public data, developers and innovators will come and create services and apps on top of that.
They will create services which are useful to the citizens. But not only directly useful ones, such as live traffic information. They would create services that would make the publicly available data easier to access and understand.
By doing that they would contribute to the transparency and public oversight of that the people have over their governments and public sector that they fund. And thereby indirectly contribute to its quality.
I do a lot of reading on my Android devices, phones and tablets. After a long search I selected Moon+ Reader , the Pro version. The killer feature was the way bookmarks and underlining is handled. I mostly read non-fiction and like to mark important passages. And I want to be sure my marks are available forever. After I am done with a book, I create an Evernote clip from my marks and comments. With Moon+ this is done with a single click. I did most of my reading on my Nexus 7 tablet, but when my phone was getting bigger I realized it would be nice to do some reading there as well. And it would be even nicer if I could synchronize the books, notes etc. Synchronizing book files Moon+ provides functionality to sync books (.epub, .pdf ...) to cloud, but they are just pushed to cloud and this is the end of the story. They will not end up on your other device. So you need to do it like this: Create a backup of the Moon+ main folder. Just in case. Many android file manages let you
Now that I got everything I wanted from Santa, let me write down what I want in iPad II. Software Shared file system for (some) apps. This has in fact nothing to do with iPAD. It is an iOS thing. As it stands, iOS is lobotomized . Each app only has access to its own files. I want for example Dropbox app and Pages app to have access to the same files. I will use one to read and write documents and the other to sync them with the could. Is this really too much to ask? I mean, really! Decent Safari. I want Safari to work with "destkop" versions of Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar etc. This has nothing to do with new hardware either. It is just a wish to make iPad a better client for the cloud services. More iPAD specific features in the iOS . iPad has a larger screen. It could be managed differently then the iPhone. Like switching among apps Expose style, for example. Keyboards with smaller keys, but more of them. It is really a pain to type anything that is not
We know it as a platform where: website or other on-line source (any web site or media store like iTunes), media (e.g. MP3), local software or client (e.g. Media Player) and device (PC, Mac, Phone, Flash Drive, Netbook ...) are not coupled with each other. Many competing companies are providing products or services for each of the components. This open model resulted in huge innovation over the last two decades, and spawned a lot of competition in creating the websites, media formats, software and the devices, driving the price down and quality up. All this possibly at the expense of the content providers who have huge problems protecting their content, because, to be universally playable, all parts of the system need to be well documented and interoperable, with any kind of security and copy protection clumsily pasted on top of it all. Apple Closing the Web? Kindle, Nook and much of the Apple Store stuff signal a possible end of this model. But with music and videos is it a lot like p